Did you know that our brains naturally focus on the negativity around us?

It’s called the negativity bias, and it can be a real problem for our mental health.

Negativity bias is automatic.

Studies have shown that our brains react much more heavily to negative stimuli.

This means that you could be having a really great day until something negative happens, and then that negative thing is all you can think about.

It’s also why when we look in the mirror, we are drawn to our flaws, and we completely miss all of the good things there are to see.

Sadly, it is human nature to remember bad experiences over the positive ones.

Similarly, it’s more likely we will have negative thoughts over positive ones.

And we will remember the insults and criticism of others more than their praise.

Scientists aren’t sure why our brains are wired this way, but they are.

The challenge is to recognize our own negativity bias and learn to overcome it.

We can do this by striving our best to see the good in the world.

We need to see the good in ourselves.

Why is it so hard to give ourselves a compliment?

We have no problem giving other people compliments.

When you see someone wearing a nice dress, you compliment them.

When you see someone has had their hair done, you compliment them on it.

But we struggle to do that for ourselves because we only see our flaws.

Last week, Olivia and I recorded a podcast episode where we talked about labels.

During one part of the conversation, I asked her to give me five really strong things about herself.

I suppose it was the same as me asking her to compliment herself. And because of that, she really struggled to say five things just off the cuff.

For some strange reason, complimenting ourselves is just not something most of us are comfortable with.

But we need to get comfortable with it.

We need to use “I am” statements and actually believe them.

As Olivia was trying to come up with five strong positive things about herself, she was able to think of some things, but she couldn’t say them as “I am” statements.

Instead, she said, “I think I am smart,” or, “I think I am creative.” She couldn’t just give herself the compliment.

When she finally got to the last one, she said, “Okay, I’ll stop saying ‘I think.’”

So she proceeded to say, “I have a pretty face.”

She couldn’t even say she was pretty.

I called her on it and told her, “You are pretty! Why can’t you say that?”

Her response was, “I’m not ready to say it like that yet.”

It was hard for her to just add the words “I am” to her statements of who she was.

I thought her reaction was very interesting because, honestly, I don’t think it was much different than other woman who are asked the same question.

We struggle to own who we are because our negativity bias keeps all of those negative things about ourselves front and center.

We become our worst critics because we can see ALL our flaws—even the flaws we keep hidden from others.

We need to change our focus.

What would happen if we changed our focus and started highlighting our positive traits instead of our negative ones?

I know that may be a challenge for many of us. But training ourselves to see the good is the only way we are going to overcome that negativity bias.

We need to more intentionally focus on the positive side of life.

I’m not saying there’s nothing negative. What I am saying is that if we focus on the negative, all that we’re going to get back is negativity.

The world is a very difficult place. There’s a lot of negativity out there. But we can make things a little bit better if we train our brains to focus on the positive.

This is especially true in the way we see ourselves.

We can train our brains to see the good by looking at ourselves the way we look at others.

In my conversation with Olivia, it was very challenging for her to tell me five positive things about herself.

But when I asked her to say five positive things about me, she could instantly rattle off five things that she really liked. It wasn’t even a struggle for her.

How amazing would it be if we could do the same thing for ourselves?

We need to accept who we are.

One way to overcome negativity bias is by accepting the flaws as a natural part of being human.

When we are able to accept our weaknesses without judgment, it is much easier for us to focus on our strengths.

The best thing we can do for ourselves is to accept who we are, accept what we’re doing, accept where we are at, and then let go of any negativity associated with it.

We need to stop holding onto all the negative things in life and choose to hold onto those positive things instead.

Think about it: if we are filled to the brim with negativity, there is no place for anything positive to go.

So, hold onto the positive and let the negativity fall to the ground. You don’t need to carry it anyway.

Here’s my challenge to you.

I challenge everyone reading this to list five strong, positive things you love about yourself.

Look in the mirror and name five things you like about what you see.

You don’t even have to look in the mirror if you don’t want to. You can just list five things that you like about yourself.

Maybe you have good handwriting, you’re a really good driver, or you are a hard worker.

Whatever it is, start your day with those five positive things.

Give yourself compliments, and stop being your hardest critic.

Negativity bias is real. And giving yourself compliments is one of the best ways to overcome it.

So, compliment yourself and then go out there and compliment others.

It makes a person feel good when they are caught by surprise with a compliment.

Not only will compliments help you see the good in yourself, but your compliments to others will help them to see the good in themselves, as well.

The world needs more positivity, so why not let it begin with you?

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